Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Ideas, Sickness, Teaching, and Other Tasks

So for the past three days I've been muddling along with the "end of semester" cold that I typically get, except for that it's actually the beginning of my summer term, which really sucks balls. In addition to that, I have a blog post brewing that I really want to do in response to Timothy Burke's post about his imagined liberal arts college and in response to Dean Dad's response to it, and I've got loads of excellent ideas (some of them nyquil-fueled) but ideas which I can't concentrate enough to articulate (sniffle, drugs, sleep, sniffle). I'll give you a teaser, though: it starts with a reform of general education requirements. So now you see why I can't actually articulate these ideas, yes? But I shall. Sooner or later. But so in the meantime, your homework is to read their posts and to see what you think about them. And then when I get around to my magnum opus of a response (which may end up being a multi-parter) you'll be totally caught up. See how awesome that will be?

Did I mention that I'm sick? This is very annoying to me. At first I thought it was just a horrible allergy-related malaise, brought on by not remembering to take my allergy medicine one day. Alas, this is not the case. That said, it's merely a head-cold, so I really don't have much to complain about. Also, even though it sucks because I'm beginning teaching two courses, it does not suck as much as it would during the regular semester, as I have no other obligations than to teach, which means that I've been free to sleep and rest for all but about 4 hours per day. This, I imagine, is what most students and non-academics imagine that an academic job entails in normal circumstances. Ah, if this were all it entailed, life would be bliss! Bliss, I say!

Now, you may be wondering how the teaching is going. This is my first time teaching summer school, for until this point the money was not enough to lure me away from the lengthy break, and I've also had conference obligations that would have gotten in the way of doing it. But so far, I'm pretty pleased with things. Random thoughts:
  • I love teaching classes that I've taught bunches of times before. I'm such a better teacher! I feel so much less burdened by the teaching! I know what works and what doesn't! Even if I change out certain texts, the courses themselves are solid. It really makes a huge difference.
  • I had some impressions on the first day of each class that are proving to be totally wrong. First, I thought that the students in the intro course were totally not going to be engaged. NOT SO! Second, I thought the other students were much more likely to be very engaged. NOT SO! We'll see how it plays out as time passes.
  • Once again, I am reminded of my love of teaching non-majors who don't give a shit about my area of expertise. It's easy to forget this is the case when I throw comp into the equation, but when I think about lit courses that majors don't really take, it becomes ever more apparent that I love me a non-major. There is a part of me that fantasizes about a time when I'll teach 3 sections of English for non-majors and just one upper-level course for majors. No, I'm not kidding. I love me some intro to lit. Even when I'm sick. And somehow I have the power to make students who aren't in any way into it and who are very suspicious of me think that it's great. It's like I'm a witch or sorceress or something similar.
Now with the end of the semester and the sickness, tragically I've got some non-teaching tasks piled up. Those would be:
  • a blog post for a colleague's online course.
  • loose ends stuff for the admin gig which is all but finished.
  • loose ends with the book.
  • loose ends with that article I can't finish.
In theory, I've got to do all of these this weekend. In practice, I will probably be scrambling into next week with these, which isn't ideal since I've also got to ready the homestead for...
1. A.'s grand visit for Vagina Power Weekend 2008.
2. New Kitty (who should be ready next week or the week after).

But so yes. This is what is going on with me. Thank god I'm beginning to feel less congested, or who knows what would become of me.


Tiggerfly said...

Sorry to hear about your cold. At least it sounds like you are having a good time in your medicated state!

Sisyphus said...

New Kitty! Yay! Waiting for pictures!

And keep us posted with the VPW08 if you want to open the Lounge.